Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0298, April 17, 2007 ....
 


Dear friends,

It's hard to believe that it's been nearly six years since I published my first issue of this journal. I've got to be either very persistent or incredibly stubborn. Most likely I'm a little of both! Today, I'm republishing an expanded form of my first article, "Be Real" that I've retitled, "Get Real." The is an inner starting point for all great group leaders and participants. I hope you enjoy it and as always, I look forward to your feedback.

I'm looking for stories...stories from the field of meeting participants to include in my upcoming book, "This Meeting Sux, I'm Taking Over." I'm looking for non-facilitators who attend meetings to try out some of the skills I offer in the book and report back on their experiences. If you know any individuals or groups that would like to benefit from this offer, please reply to this email with your ideas.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher and Founder of FacilitatorU.com


 
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The Point


Get Real
Sharing your honest impressions is a refreshing gift.

Self-Facilitation Skill


They deem him their worst enemy who tells them the truth.

—Plato—

Most of us are so conditioned to not “make waves” or to not “rock the boat” that far too often, we hesitate to say or do the right thing for fear of upsetting someone.

The truth is, if your spending more time than you’d like sitting in meetings that are so boring or frustrating as to have you engaging in fantasies involving criminal activity, then you’re already upset. And chances are, most everyone else is too.

If you’re sitting in a meeting that’s going nowhere, don’t things need to be upset? At times like this, upsetting the status quo is essential to the group’s well being. In this kind of situation you have the opportunity to shed light on the situation to get it moving in a positive direction, or to stop it moving in a negative direction. It’s time to “get real!”


What Does it Mean to “Get Real?”
What does it mean to “get real” you ask? I think you know what I mean. We all have an innate sense when something needs to be said or done. However, far too often we put on a happy face and take a “politically correct” stance. In other words, we lie or we withhold the truth because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings or fear being on the receiving end of repercussions.

Another reason I believe we avoid being real is that we don’t know how to share our truth in a mature manner. We’re afraid that if we say or do something it may not come out right and we’ll just make matters worse. These are all valid concerns and we’ll talk about how to “be real” in a moment. But first, let’s review some signposts that let you know when it’s time to step in.

It’s Time to “Get Real” When…

  • You are “keeping your mouth shut” to keep the peace.
  • You feel that something is wrong with what’s happening or not happening.
  • You find yourself disengaging from the group for whatever reason.
  • You wish you were spending your time doing something more productive.

How to “Get Real” Without Blowing it

Getting real doesn't mean that you share your each and every thought. It means that you share only that which will contribute to the healthy forward motion of our group. It also means that we speak with compassion and we trust that those with whom we share our truth are strong enough to receive it. Here is a self-test inspired by Socrates you can use to check yourself before sharing your truth.

1. Is it true? This is obvious.

2. Is it yours? Share your own experience and feelings.

3. Is it constructive? Be constructive in your comments presenting positive ideas and alternatives


Application

 

As a Matter of "FACT"

As I said, we often neglect getting real for fear of how it might come out or how it might be perceived. Getting real in a way that contributes to your group in a positive is a matter of focus, attitude, content, context, and timing. I’ve encapsulated these elements in a simple acronym, “FACT” to help you recall them the next time you’re called to “get real” in your groups. Here is what each of these elements mean.

F: Focus—set a clear focus by establishing a positive intent for interrupting the group. Find an intention that is both for your own good and for the greater good of the group. Then when you do interrupt, you do so from a place of compassion and support for all participants, including yourself.

For example, imagine your group is moving forward on an action plan before they are perfectly clear on the problem it’s supposed to solve. You set an intention to be clear on the problem so that you can put your best foot forward in contributing to the plan, and so the group doesn’t waste its energy solving the wrong problem.

A: Attitude—how do you feel about what you have to say to the group?a You’ll want to share what you have to say in a positive way. To do this, first internally acknowledge any emotion you have arising in the moment. For example, you may fear the impact speaking out might have on your job. You may fear an emotional reaction from the leader or from other participants. You may fear the appearance of looking stupid. You may be angry about what’s going on. Simply naming and acknowledging these emotions inside to yourself and accepting that they are natural and OK will help to diffuse them so that you can use their energy for your next action.

C: Context—where and with whom do you intervene? At times it may be appropriate to address the whole group, at other times, an individual. Which approach is likely to achieve the best outcome and minimize negative reactions? Consider how you would like to be interrupted if you were on the receiving end.

Content—what do you plan to say? Make it simple, clear, and concise. Use the self-check we discussed earlier: Is it true? Is it yours? Is it constructive? This assures that the content of what you say comes from your perspective with the best of intentions.

T: Timing—when should you intervene? Certainly you want to be diplomatic and avoid interrupting anyone if at all possible. You may choose to make your intervention after an official break or at a logical break in the session, possibly between agenda items. This is largely a matter of trusting your intuition by simply asking yourself, “Is this the right time to speak?” Don’t let your concern over timing stop you, however. If you have strong feelings that something needs to be said, say it sooner rather than later. This is particularly true if it appears that time is simply being wasted.


Action
 

Where can you "get real" in your groups or in your life? Who do you know who could benefit from getting real somewhere in their life? Just reply to this email and "get real" with me!

Resource


Radical Honesty: How to Transform Your Life by Telling the Truth, by Brad Blanton

Radical Honesty is a revolutionary book that takes a fresh look at how we live, love, and attempt to heal ourselves in modern society.  Radical Honesty is not a kinder, gentler self-help book. In this book, Dr. Brad Blanton, a psychotherapist and expert on stress management, explodes the myths, superstitions, and lies by which we live. He shows us how stress comes not from the environment, but from the self-built jail of the mind. What keeps us in our self-built jails is lying. "We all lie like hell," Dr. Blanton says. "It wears us out...it is the major source of all human stress. It kills us." Not telling our friends, lovers, spouses, or bosses about what we do, feel, or think keeps us locked in that jail. The way out is to get good at telling the truth. Dr. Blanton provides the tools we can use to escape the jail of the mind. This book is the cake with the file in it...In Radical Honesty, Dr. Blanton coaches us on how to have lives that work, how to have relationships that are alive and passionate, and how to create intimacy where none exists. As we have been taught by the philosophical and spiritual sources of our culture for thousands of years, from Plato to Nietzsche, from the Bible to Emerson, the truth shall set you free. 


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The Improvisational Facilitator

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Cancelled, but you can purchase a pre-recorded self-guided version here.


A week after the course I have found myself talking about and actually using the techniques taught! The experiential based learning really worked for me and I learnt whilst having fun – always a good way to retain new learnings. The course has provided me with a toolkit of great techniques to improve my own facilitation, as well as some enjoyable exercises to use with delegates. I have nothing but praise for both Sue and Steve, who walked their talk with their own facilitation skills – they simply flowed through the course with grace and intelligence. The content, the materials and the facilitators is 5 star stuff and I highly recommend it to any facilitator.
--Amanda Alexander, Coach and Founder of CoachingMums.com--

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This class covers 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course is for beginning facilitators or group members that simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make the groups they are a part of more effective. By attending this class, you will:

1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
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